January 19-Feburary 20, 2016
Janurary 19, 6-9 pm
ART LEXING is pleased to present My Silk Road to You, Kazakh artist Almagul Menlibayeva’s first solo exhibition at the gallery January 14, 2016. Menlibayeva films mythological narratives placed and staged in the vast landscape of her native Kazakhstan ravaged by 60 years of Soviet occupation. She leads her audience to the brutally changed region of the Aral Sea where its indigenous people live in the Aralkum, the desert of a once thriving region now entirely devoid of water due to radical Soviet irrigation politics.
The region of Transoxiana (Greek for ‘across the Oxus’) in southwestern Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, once the eastern part of the Hellenistic regime under Alexander the Great and the former homeland of the nomadic tribes of Persia and Turan at the banks of the Oxus River, remained an important trade region along the Northern Silk Road with flourishing civilizations and fertile plains for many centuries. Afflicted by former Soviet policies and abandoned by commercial and cultural interests, today, Transoxiana lies bare and stripped in a surreal state of existence with discarded fishing fleets on dusty terrain, cleaved by metal scavengers while its inhabitants look on as the sea keeps receding into a far and unreachable distance of a seemingly better world.
In From My Silk Road to you, Menlibayeva, a pictorial sorceress herself, breeds an eccentric storyline and fantastical imagery extracted deeply from her own atavistic repertoire, and leading visionally through an existing, yet unimaginable landscape in a distant and hypnagogic world.
Almagul Menlibayeva was born in Almaty, Kazakhstan, lives and works in Kazakhstan and Berlin and holds an MFA from the Art & Theatre University of Almaty. She has gained international recognition exhibiting at the 15th Sydney Biennial; 51st, 52nd and 53rd Venice Biennale; Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst, M HKA, Antwerp, Belgium; Queens Museum, NY; Herbert F. Johnson Museum, Ithaca, NY; Stenersen Museum, Oslo, Norway; University of California, San Diego, CA; Museo Universitario del Chopo, Mexico City; Queensland Art Gallery, Bisbane, Australia; and more recently at the Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago, IL. Menlibayeva's videos have been shown at the Santiago International Film Festival, Chile; International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, Germany; International Film Festival Rotterdam, The Netherlands; Les Rencontres Internationales Paris/Berlin/Madrid; Centre Pompidou, Paris, France; and Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France. Currently, Menlibayeva, in collaboration with Bahar Behbahani, is exhibiting a two-channel video installation titled Ride the Caspian at the Sharjah Biennial: Plot for a Biennial, curated by Suzanne Cotter, Rasha Salti and Haig Aivazian. In 2010, Menlibayeva was the recipient of a grant from the Open Society Institute Budapest, Art and Culture Network Program. In 2011, Menlibayeva will show in Videonale 13 at Kunstmuseum Bonn, Germany (April 14 – May 28, 2011).